The PAL Robotics team recently took part in ICRA 2023, one of the most prominent conferences in the field of robotics. Showcasing a range of their newest developments, the team demonstrated their commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology. This blog highlights the team’s latest robot advancements featured at the robotics conference ICRA, and active involvement in workshops at the conference.
ICRA is one of the largest and most prestigious events of the year in the Robotics and Automation calendar. The annual conference aims to bring together the world’s top academics, researchers, and industry representatives, and this year took place in London, UK.
Many important developments in robotics and automation are first presented at ICRA, and 2023 was no exception! PAL Robotics has a long tradition of taking part in ICRA and has participated for a number of consecutive years, meeting with friends and partners. Read more about ICRA 2022 in our blog article.
The robotics conference includes workshops and tutorials, presentations, forums, competitions, and networking events on the state of the art in robotics.
Booth showcase: unveiling future-ready robots
At ICRA 2023, PAL Robotics’ booth served as a dynamic platform for showcasing PAL Robotics’ latest technological advancements, featuring an array of state-of-the-art robots such as:
- TIAGo Pro was on display to demonstrate the arm placement that allows the robot to reach the floor and optimise manipulability in the common workspace, as well as arm torque sensing. The mobile manipulator showed its expressive and interactive eyes and facial expressions. Read more about the recent launch of this robot in our blog post.
- TIAGo the mobile manipulator and collaborative robot demonstrated advanced grasping, including picking objects from a table. The robot also used the ‘Motion Builder’ tool to record motions live as well as Visual Programming, which visitors could try for themselves.
- A second TIAGo robot demonstrated itself as a compatible ROS 2 platform with ros2_control framework and ROS2 controllers and applications, as well as MoveIt 2 and Navigation 2. The demo included navigation point-to-point using nav2 and SLAM.
- Biped robot Kangaroo displayed to visitors walking and the novel leg design with all in-house electronics. The Kangaroo test bench showcased jumping with some weights to show its resilience to impacts. Our booth visitors even had the chance to make Kangaroo robot jump on demand! All they had to do was press a pedal not only to make the robot jump, but also to help us to break the record of how many times Kangaroo has jumped at an event – we reached the number of 1000!
- Social humanoid robot ARI greeted visitors, and showcased applications such as facial recognition, speech in different languages, expressive interactions, knowledge and reasoning, and gestures and motions.
- The Autonomous Mobile Robot ARan demonstrated indoor delivery applications.
Active Participation in Workshops: Sharing Insights
PAL Robotics’ involvement in ICRA 2023 extended beyond the exhibition booth. Our team members actively participated in three workshops. In more detail these were:
SOLAR – Concepts, Techniques, and Applications of Socially-Acceptable Robots – 29 May
PAL Robotics’ Senior Scientist Raquel Ros joined this workshop, which aimed to bring together roboticists from academia as well as from industry to share their latest developments and vision on socially acceptable robots. The workshop featured invited talks, a panel discussion, and poster presentations of accepted paper contributions.
Discussion focused around the following main themes:
- How can robots model, profile and understand users?
- How should interaction and communication happen?
- How can socially acceptable robots be implemented?
- Where can socially acceptable robots be implemented?
Raquel Ros talked about ‘Applications of social robots in the real-world: a battle between users’ expectations and technology developers,’ focussing on social robots for healthcare in the real world. The challenges are often only seen from a technical perspective, but not from an end-users’ one. More user-centred design has to be done, not only through the design process, but also through the evaluation and deployment phases.
The workshop was organised by: Valeria Villani (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy), Lorenzo Sabattini (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy), Oya Celiktutan (King’s College London, United Kingdom), and Alessandro Giusti (Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA). Find out more about the workshop.
Robot Teammates in Dynamic Unstructured Environments (RT-DUNE) – 2 June
In this workshop, PAL Robotics’ CEO, Francesco Ferro, joined other guest speakers for this session on dynamic interactions with human-robot teams. The workshop looked at themes such as models for human-robot teaming, models for dynamic environment changes, and challenges for next-generation systems and use-cases.
Human interaction is fundamental to robotics, but is difficult to actually test in a way that supports development and design. Traditional behavioural studies can help to quantify the performance of a complete system, but often fail to adequately capture the multi-part, contextual interactions required for assessing complex tasks. This workshop brought together experts in human-robot interaction and learning together with practitioners with operationally-focused experiments and datasets to address this gap and discuss how data and experiments could enable the design and verification of systems that rely on human-robot interaction.
Francesco Ferro presented the latest developments on HRI (Human-Robot Interaction) at PAL Robotics including ROS4HRI, healthcare projects with social robot ARI, TIAGo the mobile manipulator in agrifood and manufacturing, and the development of the latest TIAGo Pro robot designed to empower mobile manipulation with the latest generation technology.
This session was organised by Carlos Nieto-Granda, Liubove (Liuba) Orlov Savko, Karinne Ramirez Amaro, Henrik Christensen, Nicholas Roy, Ethan Stump, David Baran, and Brett Piekarski. Find out more about the workshop.
Emerging Paradigms for Assistive Robotic Manipulation: Bridging the Gap between Research Labs and the Real World – 2 June
Senior Scientist Narcis Miguel Baños participated in this workshop. This workshop aimed at connecting developers, distributors, and end-users of assistive robots with expert researchers in the field of robotic manipulation to discuss how new and advanced grasp planning and control algorithms (e.g., techniques for grasping deformable objects), as well as new design paradigms for robotic hands (e.g., soft/smart materials, innovative sensing/actuation systems), that have already been, or have the potential to be, adopted in assistive applications.
In this session, Narcis Miguel focused on providing an outline on how the new PAL Robotics mobile manipulator, TIAGo Pro, was designed. In the talk he emphasised the co-design approach to decide the mounting of the two robot arms of the bi-manipulator, and how the new robot head would boost the HRI capacities of the robot for assistive and manufacturing applications.
The workshop was organised by: Maria Pozzi (University of Siena, Italy), Jihong Zhu (University of York, the UK), Fan Zhang (Imperial College London, the UK), Virginia Ruiz Garate (University of Mondragon, Spain), Zackory Erickson (Robotics Institute Carnegie Mellon University, the US), Maximo A. Roa (German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany), Jens Kober (TU Delft, the Netherlands), Michael Gienger (Honda Research Institute EU, Germany), and Yiannis Demiris (Imperial College London, the UK). Read more about the workshop.
EU projects featured at ICRA 2023
At the robotics conference we introduced workshop listeners, and booth visitors to some of the collaborative projects we are partners in at PAL Robotics. These projects, many of which are within the framework of Horizon Europe, are key to driving forward new robotics use cases as well as to enhancing our robots’ capabilities for these new use cases.
- SPRING – works on the adaptation of Socially Assistive Robots, with the ability to perform multi-person interactions in different user-cases in a hospital environment.
- SHAPES – supports deployment of digital solutions to support healthy and independent living for older individuals in homes and residential homes.
- PILLAR-ROBOTS – aims at developing a new generation of robots endowed with a higher level of autonomy with demonstrators in agri-food, edutainment, and unstructured industrial/retail environments.
- Open DR – harnessing deep learning to provide advanced perception and cognition abilities in robotics to use these robotic applications in areas such as healthcare, agri-food and agile production.
- AGIMUS – aims to deliver open-source breakthrough innovation in AI-powered agile production, introducing solutions that push the limits of perception, planning, and control in robotics, with industrial pilots across Europe.
- CANOPIES – the first attempt to introduce a collaborative prototype in precision agriculture for permanent crops, with the aim that farm workers can work together with teams of robots to perform harvesting or pruning in table-grape vineyards.
- PERSEO – aims to train a new generation of research and professional figures to face research challenges in the market of personal robots.
We would like to thank the ICRA 2023 organisers and workshop hosts of ICRA 2023 once again for what was a great event! We look forward to seeing you all at ICRA 2024 in Yokohama, Japan! To find out more about PAL Robotics visit our website and stay updated about PAL Robotics’ work and research with our blog.
If you’re searching for cutting-edge robotic solutions for your research, or project partners to collaborate with, don’t hesitate to ask us more – we are passionate about innovation and sharing expertise, and we are always looking for new opportunities to collaborate! Contact us today to find out more.